CRTC tells broadcasting industry to turn down the volume on loud television commercials

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, September 13, 2011 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that broadcasters must control the loudness of TV commercials by September 1, 2012.

“Over the years, we have seen a steady increase in consumer complaints about loud ads,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “Broadcasters have allowed ear-splitting ads to disturb viewers and have left us little choice but to set out clear rules that will put an end to excessively loud ads. The technology exists, let’s use it.”

During its public proceeding, the CRTC received over 7,000 comments. Canadians were overwhelmingly of the view that commercial advertisements were too loud and urged the CRTC to take action.

In 2009, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the internationally recognized technical standards body for digital television, set a standard for measuring and controlling television signals in order to minimize fluctuations in loudness between programming and commercials. This is the standard that will apply as a result of the CRTC’s action. Equipment to measure and control the loudness of commercials is widely available in the marketplace.

This decision means that viewers will no longer have to reach for their remotes to manually control the volume when regular programming cuts to commercial advertisements. Broadcasters will have to ensure that both programs and ads are transmitted at the same volume.

Draft regulations requiring Canadian broadcasters to adhere to the ATSC’s international standard will be published for comment before the end of 2011.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-584



The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.


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